Reader: You Can't Keep Kicking Out the Homeless En Masse

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Conor McCormick-Cavanagh
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Denver officials are planning a sweep of a large homeless encampment near the South Platte River in RiNo on Monday, November 30.

The city will be clearing out the encampment to "address deteriorating conditions and encumbrances in the public right-of-way," according to Nancy Kuhn, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, who notes that "outreach teams have been visiting the areas in advance to connect people to services, shelter and housing."

Homeless encampments such as this one have been growing across the city since the pandemic began; the controversy over how to deal with them is also growing, as evidenced by the Facebook comments about our story. Says Richard:

Better to let them stay put. Bring in sanitary facilities and deal with people individually to help them get a decent home. You can’t just keep kicking them out en masse. It’s not effective, and causes more problems than it solves.

Responds Trish:

I live by this and it’s terrible. I pay $2,700 in rent and they are breaking into cars in my parking garage daily. I’m tired of people who don’t even deal with it or who aren’t active in helping having something to say.

Replies Jason:

Wouldn't want the 2K per month renters to have to see that. What is the plan to help these people? Where will they go? Is anyone offering to get them help? Addiction counseling? Temp shelter?

Suggests Vinny: 

Polis should put them all in his bedroom.

Notes Bobbie Jo: 

They do live in my area, and maybe 100 feet away. The money paid by tax dollars rarely goes to the homeless. I also give them what I can, but the fact is the more you give, the more they want. It's to the point that if we don't give, they will now take.

I agree that our governor and mayor use the tax money improperly. Maybe that's what these news articles should headline on instead, but they ain't got the guts to put the focus on those who are really to blame.....

The headline on this particular piece was "Denver Planning Sweep of Large Homeless Encampment in RiNo," and it definitely focused on recent city actions. Just a few days earlier, we reported that the first safe-camping site would be opening in Denver next week, in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church in Capitol Hill.

While it isn't a solution for everyone living at the Arkins Court encampment — the facility is limited to women and trans individuals — it's definitely a start for the Safe Outdoor Spaces program, which has been in the works since spring; Mayor Michael Hancock announced his support for it on July 1.

What do you think of that program? How the city has been dealing with the issue of homelessness? Post a comment or email your thoughts to editorial@westword.com.

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